Category: News and Events

Professor Noel Keenlyside speaks at COP26 side event

Ocean connections from the Arctic across the globe. With Prof. Noel Keenlyside, University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre. 04:00 PM – 05:00 PM GMT (17.00-18.00 UTC+1)

This workshop will explore the importance of the ocean in the global and north west European climate, the need to ensure we are measuring the strength of ocean currents and the ocean’s properties, and how this information can be incorporated into climate models, climate services and decision-making at national and international levels.

 

Speakers:

  • Bee Berx (Scottish Government)
  • Mark Payne (Danish Meteorological Institute)
  • Jacob Høyer (Danish Meteorological Institute, GHRSST Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature)
  • Noel Keenlyside (Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen)
  • Marit Reigstad (UiT the Arctic University of Norway)
  • Siân Henley (University of Edinburgh)
  • Finlo Cottier (Scottish Association for Marine Science)

OrganizerScottish Government with the Danish Meteorological Institute, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Association for Marine Science

Online access to all events

No accreditation to COP26? Don’t worry. All events will be streamed by our media partner, We Don’t Have Time. Follow this event live on their COP26 streaming hub:

Workshop: Multi-annual to Decadal Climate Predictability in the North Atlantic-Arctic Sector

During our hybrid workshop on “Multi-annual to Decadal Climate Predictability in the North Atlantic-Arctic Sector”, we will be hosting an online Climadjust hands-on session on bias adjustment of climate projections. This will take place on:

Monday 20th September 9am -11am CEST.

Registration deadline is the 10th September:  https://survey.typeform.com/to/bugUG6m6

This session will focus on post-processing climate projections to adjust biases. It will be a hands-on session, where participants will be able to send their data in advance, work together with the Climadjust team, and present the results in the workshop. For more details on this session, please visit: http://climadjust.com/blog/workshop

 

It is also still possible to register for the entire “Multi-annual to Decadal Climate Predictability in the North Atlantic-Arctic Sector” workshop, which will take place on 20-22nd September 2021, and is jointly organized by the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit, Blue-Action, ROADMAP and CLIVAR.

Information about the event (including agenda) can be found here: http://blue-action.eu/events/predictabilityworkshop

Registration for the workshop must be done here, by 10th September: https://www.eventbrite.dk/e/multi-annual-to-decadal-climate-predictability-in-the-north-atlantic-arctic-tickets-163494415197

 

This hybrid workshop will have an in-person component at the Royal Danish Academy Of Sciences And Letters in Copenhagen. We are prioritizing presenters but if you wish to be placed on a waiting list for attending in person, please email us (Mahaut de Vareilles mahaut.vareilles@uib.no and Chiara Bearzotti chb@dmi.dk ).

 

Best regards,

Mahaut

New EASAC report: “A Sea of Change”

Translated from the Norwegian press release at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

Tor Eldevik leads EASAC report, “A sea of change: Europe’s future in the Atlantic realm”.

In the report an international panel of experts goes through the changes seen until now in the Atlantic Ocean, and what we can expect of climate change. But there is also a potential in being the closest neighbour to our western ocean.

The report is published by EASAC, the European science academy advisory council. The panel of experts is led by Tor Eldevik, Professor at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and Deputy Leader in the BCPU.

A potential in climate prediction

The report shows how fluctuations and trends in the Atlantic Ocean affects the climate in Europe and both the environment and resources in the ocean and on land.

“The report is very clear about future climatic risks, but equally focuses on the future benefits we can harvest from better understanding of the relations between the state of the Atlantic and climatic conditions over Europe that affects everything from the supply of renewable energy to fisheries,” says Tor Eldevik.

He emphasises how this knowledge can be used far better than it is now. Climate predictions developed today have the potential to predict cod movements between years, including movements out of Norwegian fisheries sectors.

To power companies the knowledge of how westerlies in the Atlantic Ocean (NAO index) affect Norwegian hydro power production can also be useful.

Figurtekst: Norsk vasskraftproduksjon svinger saman med vestavindsbeltet i Atlanterhavet, slik tidlegare vist av Helene Asbjørnsen og Noel Keenlyside UiB og Bjerknessenteret. Vasskraftdata frå SSB, styrke på vestavind vinterstid (NAO-indeks) frå climatedataguide.ucar.edu
Figure 4.1 Norwegian hydropower production swings with the westerly winds (wintertime NAO; variance explained 40%). (Source: H. Asbjørnsen and N. Keenlyside, University of Bergen / Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit; power production and NAO data from https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/08307 and https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/hurrell-north-atlanticoscillation-nao-index-station-based, respectively.)

Climate risk

Tor Eldevik points out how future changes in the ocean are connected to how successful we are at mitigating global warming.

“If we succeed in keeping the average warming to 1.5°C, then Antarctica may continue melting at current rates; but overshooting the 2 °C Paris Agreement target towards 3°C may lead to Antarctic melt alone add 0.5 cm a year by 2100,” he says.

Sea level rise have regional differences, but to the many million people living by the North Sea Basin, accounting for a meter rise in sea level.

Cities along the coast of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Great Britain will be affected greatly.

Figure 2.5 The North Sea coastline with +1 m of global SLR with the flooded areas in blue. Major population centres are marked in circles. (Source: https://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps/.)
Figure 2.5 The North Sea coastline with +1 m of global SLR with the flooded areas in blue. Major population centres are marked in circles. (Source: https://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps/.)

Central points in the report

  • Sea level rise
    On average, the sea level has risen 11-16 centimeters in the twentieth century.
    Europe must prepare for up to one meter sea level rise by 2100. Storm surges on a level we now expect every 100 years, could be yearly by 2100 if CO2 emissions continues as today. Ice melts on Greenland and the Antarctic contributes to sea level rise, as well as glacial metling in warmer areas and sea water expanding with heat. There is uncertainty linked to melting on Greenland and the Antarctic which needs to be followed closely.
  • Renewable energy
    Wind, weather and precipitation over Europe, and especially the Norwegian coast, kan be linked to the ocean. The strength of the Gulf Stream and the westerlies over the Atlantic Ocean affects the severity of wind and precipication over Europe, including the Norwegian coast. This knowledge is critical to predict climate fluctuations for the coming years and seasons – which in Norway is especially useful to power companies, both wind and hydro energy production.
  • Ocean acidification
    Temperature increases leads to fish stocks moving, uptake of CO2 makes the ocean more acidic, which changes the living conditions for life in the ocean. If the current emissions of climate gases is kept up, we will reach a level in 2100 that is uninhabitable.
  • Ocean circulation, ocean streams and the Gulf Stream giving us a milder climate
    Speculations that the Gulf Stream will stop are excessive. But the Gulf Stream strength are connected to climate in Europe and Norway. A decline in heat transportation of 20% is expected further South in the Atlantic this century, but as far North as Norway we are likely to see an increase in the stream and a continued heating of the ocean.

Read the report with EASAC

 

 

The Future Atlantic Ocean: Forecasting ecosystem functioning from microbiomes to fisheries

Side event at the All Atlantic Conference 2021, where climate forecasting on a broad level was discussed. BCPU has contributing members in the EU Horizon 2020 projects TRIATLAS and Blue Action, who were organising the event with projects AtlantECO and Mission Atlantic.

Watch the presentations and following discussion on Youtube:

Helene Langehaug on the ocean as a climate prediction mechanism

Hver dag i desember la Bjerknessenteret ut en video med en av senterets klimaforskere.

Helene Langehaug er forsker ved Bjerknessenteret og Nansensenteret for miljø- og fjernmåling, og jobber blant annet i Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit. Hun er en av dem på Bjerknessenteret som lenge har jobbet med klimavarsling. For å kunne gjøre det, er havet ekstra viktig. Det er havet som er klimaets hukommelse, og som legger mye av grunnlaget for å se lengre frem enn det værvarslingen for øyeblikket kan gjøre.

 

Hva gjør La Niña med været? (How does la Niña affect the weather?)

Værfenomenet El Niño forbinder mange med intens varme, men nå er dens kaldere lillesøster La Niña her. Hva betyr det? Vår forsker og førsteamanuensis, Dr. Lea Svendsen, skriver om dette hos Enegi og Klima: Hva gjør La Niña med været?.

(Most are all quite familiar with the El Niño phenomenon and its link with periods of intense heat. But now, El Niño’s colder little sister is here. What does this mean for the weather? Our researcher, Dr. Lea Svendsen, writes about this in her recent article in the Norwegian popular science journal Energi og Klima (link above. Article in Norwegian).

Scientific breakthrough: Winter climate in Norway now more predictable

Scientists from the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit, affiliated with the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, and the University of Bergen, contributed to a recent publication in Nature. The results indicate that it is possible to predict how the atmospheric circulation above the North Atlantic will evolve during the next decade. This is crucial for better predicting the winters in Europe and Eastern North America.

Figure 1: Rainfall variation over Northern Europe between 1960 and 2005. e) shows observations (black) and modelled predictions (red) with uncertainty range (shaded red) without adjustments, f) shows the improved and adjusted modelled predictions and uncertainty range.
Figure 1: Rainfall variation over Northern Europe between 1960 and 2005. e) shows observations (black) and modelled predictions (red) with uncertainty range (shaded red) without adjustments, f) shows the improved and adjusted modelled predictions and uncertainty range.

Investigating the climate of the past

In order to look forward in time, looking at the past is helpful. This is true in many cases, and the researchers behind this study led by the UK Met Office made use of this principle. They used climate models for investigating how accurately climate can be predicted on a decadal scale over the past sixty years.

Sea level pressure above the North Atlantic influences Norwegian winters

The main pattern of changes in sea level pressure above the North Atlantic, called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), influences the wind and storms over the North Atlantic, which in turn influences the winter weather in Europe and Eastern North America. Two extremes are possible for winters in these regions: stormy, warm, and wet, or calm, cold, and dry. Which extreme the winter weather will tend towards is now shown to be very predictable on a decadal scale, according to the new study.

The researchers investigated the North Atlantic Oscillation and its influence by producing retrospective forecasts of the past climate (called hindcasts) and comparing them to observations made in the past. That way they quantified how accurate the model predictions are.

One of the most important predictions for Europe and especially Norway is the amount of rainfall. The comparison between hindcasts produced by models (Figure f, red line) and the observation (Figure f, black line) shows that the rainfall over Northern Europe can be predicted with high certainty. The model results match the previous observations nicely.

Contribution from the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit

Many hindcasts were produced by different research groups worldwide. The different climate models from these groups are part of t experiments performed for the last and upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. Bergen researchers involved in the study are the following: Noel Keenlyside (UiB/NERSC), François Counillon (NERSC), Ingo Bethke (UiB), and Yiguo Wang (NERSC). The four are part of the Bjerknes Climate Prediction Unit at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. They used their climate model, the Norwegian Climate Prediction Model (NorCPM), which is part of CMIP6, to contribute to this study.

Climate models need to be improved

Apart from the high predictability of the North Atlantic climate indicated by the hindcasts, the study also shows that current climate models are underestimating this exact fact (Figure e). The researchers identified this deficiency and show that climate models need to be and can be adjusted (Figure f) to better predict the behaviour of the pressure above the North Atlantic and in turn the future winter conditions in Europe and Eastern North America.

To sum it up, confidently predicting the winters of the next years for Norway is now a reality, but climate models need to be improved.

Significance of this study: Climate can now be better predicted on short time scales

Noel Keenlyside, leader of the BCPU, commented “This is a major breakthrough for climate research and for the development of climate services in our region. Now we have solid evidence that we can provide to our stakeholders, like BKK and Agder Energi, that we can really say something useful about how the coming winters will be. It will also lead to improved models for providing better long-term projections of climate change.

The newly established Centre for Research-Based Innovation (SFI) called Climate Futures led by NORCE, with the Bjerknes Centre and Nansen Center as partners, among others, will benefit from this work in the future. The Centre’s objective is to improve climate prediction on short time scales of days to decades, and to improve the management of climate risks. By improving the predictability of Norwegian winters on a decadal scale, as indicated by this recent study, decadal climate prediction will become better and better. Erik Kolstad with NORCE and Bjerknes Centre leads this project:

“These results show that the models now can predict the climate in a useful way for planning in a number of sectors, like renewable energy, agriculture, and finance/insurance. With predictions like these both the business world and the public sector will be better prepared for extreme weather events and potentially gain more from periods of favorable weather and climate.”

Tarjei Breiteig (Head of Hydroglogy and Meterology at Agder Energi AS) represents one of the stakeholders this study directly impacts.

“This study shows that there is stilled untapped potential in saying something about possible weather and climate the next decade. To save hydropower in years of little demand, and have stored hydropower in years where demand will be high, it is essential for us to have sufficient information on what fluctuations to be expected in weather and climate the next decade. The climate research groups in Bergen show that they take this effort seriously, and that they are ahead when it comes to analyse and use climate models in the real world.”

Climate Futures: New Centre for Research-based Innovation

Press release from NORCE (in Norwegian)

The Norwegian Research Council has given Climate Futures the prestigious status as a Centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI).

Climate Futures is a new and ambitious action to generate long-term cooperation between companies, public organizations and research groups across sectors and disciplines to tackle one of the most urgent challenges of our time.

The changing nature of weather and climate poses a severe threat to the prosperity and well-being of our economy and society as a whole, but climate risk is inadequately managed due to knowledge gaps and deficiencies in the decision-making processes of businesses and public authorities.

– These are fantastic news. We knew that the theme of Climate Futures was relevant, and we are pleased that the Research Council also sees that climate risk is an area that requires great effort on the research front. We at NORCE and the Bjerknes Centre have a brilliant group of research partners, business world stakeholders and public sector partners. We are now looking forward to helping these deal with the great risk associated with weather and climate, whether for direct phenomena such as floods and droughts, or more transferred risk related to investments in other parts of the world, says centre manager and climate scientist Erik Kolstad in NORCE and the Bjerknes Centre.

Climate Futures is led by NORCE, and is comprised of seven other research partners and close to 30 stakeholder partners, representing agriculture, renewable energy, disaster mitigation, shipping, insurance, finance, risk management, and the public sector.

They will work together to create new solutions to predict and manage climate risk from 10 days to 10 years into the future.

Contact
Erik Kolstad, centre leader Climate Futures, NORCE and the Bjerknes Centre. +47 411 22 457
Trond Martin Dokken, Executive Vice President climate, NORCE   +47 975 64 402

Research partners in Climate Futures
NHH / SNF, Universitetet i Bergen, Norsk regnesentral, Meteorologisk institutt og Nansensenteret.
NORCE, UiB og Nansensenteret er alle samarbeidspartnere i Bjerknessenteret for klimaforskning.

Stakeholder partners
BKK, Golden Ocean, Gartnerhallen, Graminor, MOWI, StormGeo, Agder Energi, Tryg Forsikring, Norges Bondelag, Western Bulk, KLP, G2 Ocean, Safetec, Statkraft, Norsk Landbrukrådgiving, Vestland Fylkeskommune, Viken Fylkeskommune, Rogaland Fylkeskommune, Alle fylkesmennene i Norge, representert ved Fylkesmannen i Vestland og Direktoratet for Samfunnssikkerhet og Beredskap (DSB).